The Snow Queen at St Peter’s Theatre

Portsmouth Players in rehearsal for The Full Monty

Portsmouth Players dare to bare as they go The Full Monty at The Kings Theatre

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The chaos of pantomime deceives. It requires discipline from its performers and a firm hand guiding it. Writer/director Sarah Birch does not always pull this off with Phoenix Players’ well-intentioned production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.

Jamie Riley is, arguably, too young to fully succeed as the dame – but his sheer chutzpah carries him through and his performance is much the best thing about the show. It’s worth keeping an eye on the bit-part performers, too. David Pearson shows talent and is one to watch and Eleanor Marples shows confidence beyond her years. The first half, at nearly 90 minutes, could do with pruning – perhaps losing a couple of the well-danced but unnecessary dance numbers from the Classique School of Dance – and Birch needs to hammer home to her actors the need to pick up cues. But it’s traditional and fun. Enjoy. Until February 5.